Although it has been summertime and the Council does not meet in August, there has been quite a lot going on particularly around housing and planning applications for larger developments. The Council would like to hear what interests you, so please go to the website and let us know your views.
The play area renovation at Gallowstree Common and Kidmore End is now complete and the Gallowstree Common play area will be officially opened at 10.00 am on 21 October.
The new piece of equipment at Gallowstree Common has been complimented by those who have played on it. The safety surfacing in both areas is now grass with safety matting. In time the matting will become invisible as the grass grows through it. We hope that the new equipment will be well used and bring a lot of fun and pleasure. Many thanks to everyone who helped along the way, from the beginning with the school council to the end with storing swings, watering turf and assisting with water provision – it was a great community project.
Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP)
The first meeting of the steering group was held at the beginning of the month. There are 17 members of the group, with representatives from all 5 villages. Members of the group have a wide a range of skills. An application has been submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) for the parish boundary to be the designated boundary for the NDP.
The NDP is likely to have an impact on many aspects of life in the villages and the involvement of everyone is key to the success of the project. Regular updates will be available via website and newsletter, and we have created a sub-area of the website where you can find the latest updates on our NDP journey. You can view other neighbourhood plans on the SODC website.
If you would like to be involved or would like further information please contact me at email@example.com.
SODC emerging Local Plan
The Local Plan is where SODC explains where they think new houses, retail and employment should be located up until 2033, and the infrastructure required to support it. This October you will have a final opportunity to comment on the Plan. This consultation is different from the previous ones in that there are questions that SODC must ask, relating specifically to the legality of the Plan. This important document will help to shape the future of South Oxfordshire and will be used to help make decisions on planning applications so it is critical that as many people comment as possible.
Look out for further information, including a fact sheet with all the information you will need about how to respond to the consultation. Once the consultation deadline has passed, SODC will send all the comments along with the Local Plan and evidence studies to the Planning Inspectorate for examination. Further information will be on the website once available.
Government consultation on revised method of assessing housing need
The Government is currently consulting on a number of reforms to the planning system including the method for calculating housing need. The final outcome might be a reduction in the number of houses that the government says SODC need to build in South Oxfordshire. Given the current housing climate and the land supply issue which is hounding SODC, it would be wise to take a look and respond to the consultation. It could have a significant impact on the number of houses being built in the future. To find out more, click here.
Website sign up
The Council would like to encourage you to sign up to email alerts on the KEPC website, as this is a cost-free way for the Council to communicate with everyone in the Parish about what is happening locally.
20 mph speed limit
The Council has supported the request to reduce the speed limit to 20 mph in Kidmore End village following concern from parishioners about the speed of traffic, particularly at school times. This has now been approved by Oxfordshire County Council and we look forward to implementation of the decision.
Large local planning application decisions
- Eye and Dunsden – P16/S3630/O
This is the application by Gladman to build 245 houses on land next to Emmer Green.
The SODC Planning Committee refused planning permission on 6 September. This decision was greeted with a great deal of pleasure, as there has been a lot of co-operation between local parish councils and the residents’ association of Emmer Green in opposition this application. A number of buses took local members of the community from Sonning Common to the committee meeting to show how they felt about the application, and the demonstration was covered by the media. For further information click here.
- Sonning Common – P16/S3707/O
This application for housing on land off Kennylands Road, which is within Sonning Common’s NDP area, was also refused, as the request was for an increase in the number of houses from the number agreed in the NDP. This is a positive outcome for the Sonning Common Parish Council and NDPs generally.
- Thames Farm application
This planning application is for land near Shiplake and is within the area of the Henley and Harpsden NDP. There have been a number of planning applications and this appeal was not the first. The appeal inspector decided in favour of the owner, citing the lack of affordable housing and the lack of a 5-year land supply in SODC. I gather that SODC have now said they are going to fight this appeal decision in the courts.
You may have noticed that the tape has been removed from around the war memorial. There were concerns about its safety, as it appeared to have moved and to be tilting slightly. Structural surveys indicate that it is safe, which is great news.
Dogs and the play areas
It is very disappointing to hear of instances of dog fouling in one of the play areas, which is clearly unacceptable. I would like to remind dog owners that dogs should be kept on a lead in the play areas and any mess cleared up and taken away.
The council owns 2 former phone boxes, one in Chalkhouse Green and one in Kidmore End, and we are in the process of buying another at Cane End. We have been working to improve the kiosks. The Kidmore End kiosk has been turned around and the Chalkhouse green kiosk was repainted last year and new glass fitted. We are now moving to the next stage of working on what will go inside.
Highway verge cutting
This work is now being undertaken by a local company hired by the Parish Council rather than Oxfordshire Highways. There has been a considerable improvement in the cutting of the verges, particularly noticeable at the junction of Horsepond Road and Wood Lane in Gallowstree Common.
I have had a number of people commenting about roadside hedges getting wider and thus making the local roads narrower. We have narrow lanes and to make everyone safer, if you are a home owner or landowner, please could you cut back your roadside hedges. Thank you.
There is still free bark at the Gallowstree Common Recreation Ground, in a pile in the car park area. If you would like to take some, it would be helpful to us and you.
If you would like to get involved with the Parish Council or with the Kidmore End Neighbourhood Development Plan please contact us.